ePilot Number 14

Sunrise in Port Hueneme

We’re No. 1!

According to The Washington Post, “Ventura County, Calif., is the absolute most desirable place to live in America.”

PHWA to Proceed With Project

In a three and a half hour meeting, the Port Hueneme Water Agency (PHWA) board agreed to spend $70,000 of a $308,000 budget to contract with KEH Associates for analysis of the feasibility of constructing the Double Pass Reverse Osmosis Project at the PHWA water treatment facility.
If constructed, the project would recycle effluent that is now being sent to Oxnard’s wastewater plant, generating over 1 million acre feet per year of “new water”.  

KEH will study both the engineering and financial aspects of the project that is estimated to cost $2.5 million in total.

Port Hueneme Public Works Director Chris Theissen also briefed the board on discussions with Oxnard regarding impacts from proposed upgrading of that city’s wastewater plant.  The PWHA facility sits on land leased from the City of Oxnard.  

Renewal of the lease is complicated by the need to virtually rebuild the wastewater plant to account for potential sea level rise.  The two plants sit on adjoining parcels. Should the Oxnard plant need to be relocated, that could impact the PHWA plant as well.  Cost estimates for the Oxnard project alone could exceed $800 million.

PHWA board member Doug Breeze (Port Hueneme) pointed out that the lease can only be terminated by “mutual agreement” and that there were “lots of options” for working with Oxnard to improve water quality and supply. “Flexibility’s the name of the game when you’re talking water,” he said.

In other business, the board voted to continue to meet monthly, rather than revert to quarterly, meetings.  Staff estimates the cost of each meeting to be $5435.


Community Choice Coming to Ventura County?

The Ventura County Regional Energy Alliance (VCREA) heard a presentation on Community Choice Energy at it August 13 meeting.

Community Choice is a mechanism for cities and counties to take over the purchase of electricity from the for-profit power companies such as Southern California Edison or Pacific Gas and Electric.  While the actual power lines would still be owned by SCE or PG&E, the electricity itself would be purchased and sold by the community agency.

Presently in California, Marin and Sonoma Counties as well as the City of Lancaster have formed Community Choice agencies.  While Marin is reporting 3-5% savings in electricity rates, there are, nonetheless, cautionary notes to be sounded.

A study for the City of Arcata puts the cost of conversion at $1 million, in contrast to the “large amounts of revenue” predicted by an earlier study. http://www.northcoastjournal.com/humboldt/arcata-eyes-costly-divorce/Content?oid=3170926

Several Santa Barbara cities led by the County have begun exploring Community Choice.  They recently approached Ventura County with an invitation to join in a feasibility study estimated to cost about $50,000. 

VCREA, chaired by 3rd District Supervisor Kathy Long, agreed to contact Ventura County cities to see if any were interested in participating in such a study.  The Board of Supervisors will consider the matter separately.

VCREA is an association of the County, local cities, shcool districts, and special districts formed to promote energy conservation in Ventura County.


A New Look for Oxnard?
Dao Doan discusses a vision for Oxnard Blvd

A Vision for Oxnard Blvd.
By Dao Doan
For as long as Ventura County residents can remember, Oxnard Boulevard has been a busy, somewhat unattractive State Highway that traverses the heart of Oxnard.  Indeed the Boulevard, in connecting Pacific Coast Highway in the south to US Highway 101 in the north, cuts right through Downtown Oxnard.  Owned by the State and operated by Caltrans, the Boulevard spawned commerce and business, along with a healthy dose of truck traffic throughout the day and night.       
                                    Last year the City engaged a consultant to help re-envision what the Boulevard should look like in its new role of still linking the south to the north while no longer accommodating heavy truck traffic.  The consultants were tasked with outreach and engaging the community for public input through a series of workshops.  Among the participants of the workshops, a private citizen group was independently formed under the name Oxnard Community Planning Group (OCPG) to provide informed feedback.  Roy Prince, Frank Nilsen, Roger Poirier, Steve Nash, Claudia Lozano, Aurelio Ocampo Jr., and Gary Blum, are some of the active members among many others.
The Group’s main concern is that the Boulevard’s final vision should closely reflect that of the community:  the Boulevard as a thoroughfare that accommodates all users, from pedestrians to bicyclists to vehicle operators, from toddlers to persons with disabilities to seniors, all in a pleasant, safe and vibrant manner.  It should not be redesigned mainly for drivers as is often the case of street design.  To the OCPG, a street is more than just the pavement on which cars are driven.  Its sidewalk, its trees, its landscape, its furniture, and the buildings lining it help define whether it is a healthy and “complete” street.  The OCPG recognizes that intense development in the form of housing is needed in order for inject more life into such a robust vision.
A key focus of the OCPG is how the Boulevard can help foster a vibrant Downtown with economic development and housing, rather than splitting it into two halves with fast and noisy traffic.  In the mind of the OCPG, the transformation of the Boulevard should be centered on people rather than cars; it should re-link the east and west side of Downtown, and be a “place” for socialization along with commerce.  Ways to achieve that goal include enlarged sidewalks at intersections (also referred to as curb extensions or “bulb-outs”), dedicated and protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and curb-side parking. The main focus is place making.
With that objective in mind, the OCPG retained Mainstreet Architects of Ventura to create a series of images illustrating how more intense development along this important corridor would have the ability to change how it is perceived (disclosure: this writer is responsible for the graphic creation of those images, now shown in this article).  Just as important, the OCPG supports retaining valued historic properties such as the old Teatro downtown theater, the Asahi Market, as well as the Golden Chicken Restaurant building.  The group wants to show how Oxnard’s historic buildings can fit in a new context of increased intensity and vitality, and how new development will still show respect to them.
The visioning process is still on-going at press time.  The OCPG hopes that the ultimate plan will adopt many of concepts depicted in the illustrations, and that when realized, the Boulevard will look and feel something like a place teeming with life, people walking, biking, and driving.

This article originally appeared in the Livable Communities Newsletter and is reprinted with the kind permission of the Ventura County Civic Alliance.

Dao Doan is the CFO/ Senior Principal of Mainstreet Architects + Planners, Inc., and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Ventura County Civic Alliance.

Loran Lewis

A kind word from an old friend, the editor and publisher of our predecessor Hueneme Pilot.


Congratulations to the editor of the ePilot for resuscitating the Hueneme Pilot. As the publisher-editor-janitor for the Hueneme Pilot, I know firsthand how important a local news outlet is to a community.

What makes a town a “community” are the voices and actions of the people who live there. That includes, but is not limited to, city government. It includes what people do to have fun, improve their town and raise their children. You simply can’t do that effectively from several towns away.

I could not have been happier with the reception of the previous incarnation of the Pilot or of getting to know the people and sharing their stories. I wish the new ePilot the best of luck, and I look forward to following the activities of my adopted hometown from afar.

Brick Wahl

The Disappearing Middle Class

From the “Harper’s Index” in the September 2012 Harper’s Magazine….

Percentage change since 1970 of the share of metropolitan American families residing in affluent neighborhoods: +121

Residing in poor neighborhoods: +108

Residing in Middle Class neighborhoods:  -34

The math there is just brutal. There are more than twice as many–almost two and a half times as many–affluent households now than there were in 1970. There are over twice as many poor households as they were ion 1970. And the number of middle class households is down a whole third.

If you consider that the total household wealth money supply has been fairly fixed over that time, you can see how this happened.  The upper class has increased their share by taking it from the middle class.

Their increased wealth didn’t come out of nothing. It’s not like there was a Gold Rush that increased the money supply several fold over night.


It’s just that the salary structure and profit taking and were fundamentally altered so that most of that cash went to the rich and upper middle classes (who are now the lowest rung of the affluent  class.) They’ve locked in this bias, too–when the recession hit, that they themselves caused, the upper class–the top 20%–suffered almost not at all. All the pain was born by the middle and lower classes, especially the middle class, who have been so stripped of cash that they can no longer even afford to be middle class.

That’s what has made this downturn so devastating, and why the middle class can’t seem to recover: there’s no money for us. Almost all of the benefits of the recovery have gone to the top twenty percent.

The redistribution of wealth in this country has been profound…one of the greatest economic shifts in our history. The recession made that gulf even wider, and hardened it…and the endlessness of the recession has only continued that process.

There can’t be a reversal of this trend for a generation or two. The middle class of even twenty years ago will not regain their position, not in their lifetimes. Our best years are long behind us.

So we’ve adapted. We live poorer, spend less. We live in a totally separate world from the top twenty. The businesses that succeed nowadays are ones that cater to the twenty percent. Businesses that cater to the middle class fail.

I don’t see a way out. We’ve lost the class war. Got our asses whipped before we even realized that there was a class war.

Read more Brick Wahl at http://brickwahl.com/

Forecasting the Next Pandemic

Can Big Data spot emerging diseases before they have a chance to spread?

Copyright 2015 The Hueneme Pilot  All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:


516 Island View Circle
Port Hueneme, California 93041

J. Sharkey, Editor and Publisher


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